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Community matters: Plastic Free July at HL Workplace

Recently, thirteen HL colleagues used their volunteering days to collect rubbish at nearby local Portishead Beach. We caught up with Jennifer Oaten, Retirement Service Coordinator and Chair of the Sustainability Network to find out more.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

Last month, staff from HL Workplace Solutions (HLWS) and across HL took part in Plastic Free July. We joined with millions of people across the globe to be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities.

We’ve encouraged colleagues to think about the everyday plastics they use and where they could make small changes to have a big impact on the planet. Top tips included making your own cleaning products, packing a reusable cup for takeaway coffees and shopping at local grocers for products with less plastic wrapping.

As part of Plastic Free July, some of our people recently used their volunteering days to collect rubbish at nearby local Portishead Beach.

We caught up with Chair of the Sustainability Network and Retirement Service Coordinator at HLWS, Jennifer Oaten, to find out more.

  1. Why is it important to help keep our beaches clean?

    Keeping our beaches clean has so many benefits. As many more of us are staycationing this year, it means we’ve got nicer beaches to spend the day at. But it also means that there’s less rubbish getting into the water, polluting and harming marine life.

    Spending the afternoon litter-picking at a local beach is a great opportunity for us to give something back to our local community too.

  2. How much rubbish did you collect?

    We collected over 15kg of rubbish. We recorded exactly what we found from a 100m stretch to support the Marine Conservation Society’s work. In that 100m stretch, there were 358 different items. I was shocked. One third of that rubbish was plastic or polystyrene, mainly food packaging.

  3. Are there plans to do this again?

    Yes, absolutely. We’ll be doing some more beach litter-picks next month. At HL, every colleague can take two volunteering days per year to help out with a local charity or organisation which is fantastic. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of volunteers wanting to re-connect with people from around the business whilst having a positive impact on the planet too. And I’m sure that on staycations this summer there’ll be plenty of people reducing the plastic they take to the beach, making sure they take their rubbish home to recycle or helping to tidy up the rubbish that they see.

    Going plastic free shouldn’t be something that happens for one month a year. It’s something we should be working towards all year round. Making small changes to what you buy can have a really huge impact over time.

  4. Have you changed your actions as a result?

    Yes. I’ve made small changes that help me reduce the amount of plastic I use all year round. I grow vegetables, fruit and herbs on my allotment, I shop at my local zero waste shop for cleaning products and whole foods and I always take a reusable cup or bottle out with me.

  5. How else is HL supporting plastic free July?

    In our offices, HL provide complimentary period care products for colleagues from our partner TOTM. These are organic and plastic free.

    We also have a reusable tub and tote bag library, which colleagues can borrow from for a zero-waste lunch and grocery shopping. We set this up using resources we already had at the office.

    We also recycle crisp packets through the Terracycle scheme. Terracycle recycle the packets, and make a financial donation to a local school based on what we’ve collected.

    HL’s regular publication, the Investment Times, is now fully recyclable after we swapped the plastic wrap to paper. This has saved the equivalent of 1.4 million new plastic bags from being produced over the past year.

    On a wider scale, HL has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero by 2050. There are lots of exciting changes coming to make sure that we can meet these goals.

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Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

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